Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Review of The New Law and Economic Development: A Critical Appraisal by David M. Trubek, Alvaro Santos

Book can be found in:
Genre = Economic Development

Elaborate Description

The changing theory and practice in law for the purpose of development, is the driver of this book. This book goes from history to potential changes in how the law should be used. Various authors combined their articles for a comprehensive view of law and developments.

The authors spot three major paradigm changes, which they call the Three Moments in Law and Development Theory. The First Moment used law as a tool for breaking down traditional barriers which should alter economic behavior. The Second Moment used law to increase privatization and allow prices to adjust without distortions. The Third Moment used law to reduce transaction costs that constitute the markets. The importance in these Moments lies with them being globalized. The times under considered for the First, Second, and Third Moment, respectfully are 1850s to before WWI, 1900s to 1960s, and 1960s to present day.

A theme that all the authors have is to consider the way legislation took hold and their flaws while providing ameliorations to the theory behind the law. One of the themes is the inappropriate use policies that do not fit the national, more local level. Another theme is trying to identify the Rule of Law, difficulty enforcing the law which directly impacts the legal pragmatism representing a connection between social needs with ways of achieving the goals.

This book starts off very difficult to read. Giving a lot of history and describing the situation without much analysis as to why the change and why it mattered. But, as more terminology is discussed, understanding of the discussions become easier as they provide more analysis.

A major problem with the book is that the target of the criticism seems to be misplaced. Much of the blame for wrong policy initiatives is put on neoliberals. When they are critizing specific methods of law, for instance formalization or what can be considered top down legislature, they provide a good understanding of why the methods are wrong. The problem lies with those that they criticize, would not only agree that the methods were wrong, but were actually posing the solutions the authors mentions. They are very inconsistent with their blame. For example, they claim that neoliberals were focusing on individual rights, while stating that if the problem of a law is that it is not nation specific and the solution being more local laws. Who has more local knowledge than the individuals responsible for their community and enforcing the laws the society deems proper for them? It seems that the author want place the blame on those without understanding how their side (left) helped create (or just create) the laws they are describing. Accountability is desired in law, but the fault lies with all the parties involved.

Book Details

Edition ISBN:  9780521677578
Pages to read:   301
Publication:     2011
1st Edition:      2006
Format:            Paperback

Ratings out of 5:
Readability     3
Content           4
Overall           4